Christopher O'Leary, 34
Christopher O'Leary, 34, a white man, was fatally shot near the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Avenue 46 in Highland Park on Sunday, Jan. 20. O'Leary was on his way to the store when a man or youth approached him and shot him. A passerby discovered the body and reported it to police. The motive is still unclear, said homicide Det. Lewis Lenchuk of LAPD's Northeast Division. O'Leary was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, where he was pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m.
O'Leary was an employee at the Department of Public Health in the Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention Program. Having a doctorate in medical anthropology, O'Leary assisted in launching two STD prevention campaigns, according to colleague Harlan Ortabalatt. The first, "Check Yourself," was aimed at preventing the spread of syphilis among gay men. The second, "I Know," attempted to prevent the spread of chlamydia and gonorrhea among women of color. He was scheduled to give a presentation about the campaigns at the National STD Prevention Conference in Chicago and the International AIDS Prevention Conference in Mexico City later this year.
Those who knew and worked with O'Leary described him as an astute and vibrant person. "He would make you come alive," Ortabalatt said. "It would heighten your level about life." Unanimously, friends and colleagues have taken comfort in the idea that O'Leary was his usual self that Sunday; he was happy and enjoying life. Read O'Leary's obituary in the Sacramento Bee for more details.
* Update: LAPD Northeast Division detectives have cleared this case: A 17-year-old Latino youth has been arrested. Times story.